Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Hooked Up

This is a complaining post, and I plan to name names, so if you don't want to hear me whine, just stop now. Move along.
We had to move our services to our new home, most especially television and internet. Both of these fine companies were more than willing to set us up at our new home, but both have substantial charges for moving.
Oh, it's just a few hundred dollars but I was a poor boy and that's still a lot of money to me, especially for accepting the continuation of a service I pay monthly for.
DirecTV arranged to connect us at our new house on the Friday after we moved everything. That was their earliest appointment. Aside from charging us for the move, this was fine with us. The guy showed up when they said he would and he went to work.
It was a hot day. The skies threatened rain, but never materialized. Just before the guy showed up we lost power to the house. Well, to be fair, everyone around us lost power too (over four hundred people according to the power company - I called to check). The guy was polite and continued despite 1) impending rain, probably followed by lightning strikes and instant death to installation guys putting metal objects on roofs and 2) no way to complete the job since he needed electricity to finish it all up.
As I said, it didn't rain (there was no lightening) and the electricity came back on long before he was finished with the installation on the roof. Which took hours. No, really. This guy admitted he was pretty new and he was up there for hours, drilling holes in our roof. For hours. When I gather the courage I plan to go into the attic and look for the holes, since I'm sure there are some to spare. As the evening wore on he got to the more complicated bits, and he called in a buddy of his to help him.
Don't get me wrong. Both of these guys were top-notch and very polite. The first guy was new, but he was meticulous and that's what counts to me. I'm joking about holes in the roof (but not that he was up there for hours). Between the two of them, they figured out where all the coaxial cables went and what they needed to do to connect our living room and bedroom.
One small thing. They needed the internet connected to finish. That was a problem.
Back a few days. The internet people were very nice on the phone, but the procedure required them to send us a new box for the connection. That would be an extra hundred bucks, but there's some mumbling about a gift card in three months. And they had to bundle our real phone into a VOIP phone and we lose the number that Darling has had forever. Okay.
Oh, and I get to set it up. They mailed me a box with instructions. Cool.
The TV guys were still there when I was finally allowed to connect the internet. Oh, they said, they needed a coax near the internet connection. We searched all the rooms for that, and it was that criteria that made us choose my study (office? We still don't know what to call that room yet) as the internet room. Except the phone line in there had the wall plate removed.
Amazingly, I didn't see that as a problem. I actually have some experience running phone wires (not for the phone company - just in case you were confused). So I checked one of the other boxes in the house and noted that the connection pair was the blue and white-blue wires. I removed the phone jack from the Master and put it in the study. Easy-peasy.
Except it was dead. One of the TV guys had this little device to check it and it should have had power to it, but it was dead, dead, dead. (Why don't I have one of those checkers, I ask myself?) So I went outside and checked, and there are two connections outside, one for blue and white-blue for voice and one for orange and white-orange for data. That was new to me. So I figured I might switch them around, but that's not in my experience set, so I left it alone.
I did all the steps required to set up the internet and it failed. No surprise. I would have been surprised if it worked. After all, the line is dead, as in no power.
So I called the help number. This is where the whining starts in a major way.
The first guy was polite and we walked through all the steps. Of course we did. That's his process. He concluded he had to elevate the problem. "Excuse me, but could I say something here?" "Of course, sir." "The phone line is dead. There is no power." "Thank you sir. I will elevate the problem and we'll call you back."
They did. The next lady was just as polite, though she kept repeating that my connection was bad. At one point I mentioned that I was on an AT&T cell phone, which is who she works for, but though she spoke well and politely, I am fairly certain she couldn't hear.
Again, we walked through all the steps. Reboot. Press this button. Watch these lights. "Excuse me, but could I say something here?"
"Of course, sir. I am listening."
"I mentioned this before but the phone line is dead. There is no power."
"Thank you sir. We will need to send a technician to install your service. There will be a $55 fee and there might be more charges depending on what he finds and needs to correct. Do you understand and agree with these charges."
I told her I didn't have much choice, but she didn't hear me. "Would you please write something down in my file?"
"Yes sir. I am listening intently."
"The. Phone. Line. Is. Dead. I mention this because this is a new house and we expected some power to the line, but it is totally non-functional. I don't expect to be charged for fixing something that should already work."
"Yes sir. I will record that you are in a new house and don't wish to be charged. Do you understand the charges so that I can schedule a technician for you?"
Yes, I did, and the guy showed up the next day. He was very polite. He checked the box outside. Then he went into the attic. Then he came and we went through all the steps to set up the internet and got a green light. I was pleased.
"Was there something wrong with your old modem?"
"No. They said they had to replace it with this one. But it looks the same. I did ask, though, and they said this one was 802.11n so that's okay if it's an upgrade."
He looked at me. "No, these are all 802.11g." The older, slower protocol.
"Really? So this box is not anything different. And I paid $100 for it." He didn't say anything but noticed it was doing a ROM update.
He waited and the modem went into update mode again. "I have a different modem in the truck."
He brought the new modem in and it's a smaller footprint so that's nice. "802.11n?" I asked. He just shook his head.
We have internet and television now, so I'm sure I'll get over it.


  1. I admit to being a little confused still by the convoluted workings of the power system. OY. Very Byzantine, isn't it? I'm glad the Internet works now, but I'm sorry it was such a headache to set up.

  2. Hardwire phone systems always have a current, even if the phone line is not activated for a phone. In this case there was not even a current.
    I meant to mention that I think the guy switched the data and voice connections at the box outside. It's what I would have done. I don't know what he did in the attic. I'll check the outside box in the near future and might post an update.